disbanded soldiers from Wellington’s armies and a
number of their friends and neighbours, accompanied by their families.
They set out to make a home for themselves in a land where they would be
the owners of their own farmsteads. Entering the primeval forest, they
selected their acres of trees and set to work to hew out a clearing and to
plant their grain and garden seeds among the stumps. To the pioneers in
other parts of the forest this district became known as "the Scotch
Settlement." It forms to-day several townships in the eastern portion of
the Canadian province of Ontario.
Here was developed a people whose
sturdy life, as they spread over the Dominion, has done much to build up
the commerce and to develop the resources of this country.
If, in this chronicle of the
remarkable events of which I was a deeply interested spectator, there
shall be presented some pictures of the life of the settlers, with their
lights and shades, with "their homely joys and destiny obscure" — pictures
which can be easily recognised by all who have lived "near to Nature’s
heart"; if some Canadian hearts are warmed, and some Canadian fancies are
pleased, as familiar faces and characteristics are delineated, then the
author’s reward will be complete.
The lives, the thoughts, and the
conversation of the people were permeated by their religion. If all
reference to this had been omitted from the pages which follow, a true
picture of the community would not have been drawn.
The reader will, it is hoped,
readily excuse any partiality an old man has shown in writing of his young
friends, as well as the garrulousness that has at times led him off into
The events recorded in this
chronicle occurred subsequent to the year 1840.